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A self-guided adventure that’s low on the effort scale – but highly rewarding – is to take a scenic chairlift ride at either of our local ski resorts.
Tamarack Resort offers scenic rides on its Tamarack Express Chairlift seven days a week from June 9 through Labor Day. Scenic riders will unload at 6,600 feet elevation where they can soak in beautiful views of Cascade Reservoir. The ride also provides access to the 1.5-mile Rocky Overlook hiking trail which offers views of Long Valley and Tamarack’s Wildwood zone. Once you’re finished snapping photos, you’ll get back on the lift and ride back down to the Tamarack Village where you can guide yourself to any number of dining options and other activities. www.tamarackidaho.com
At Brundage Mountain Resort, scenic rides on the BlueBird Express are offered Wednesdays through Sundays (and holidays) and take you all the way to the 7,640 foot summit. Riders can step off the lift and enjoy nearly 360 degrees of high alpine views – or – take one of two short hikes that offer some of the most stunning easy-access scenery in the entire region.
The Hidden Valley Overlook trail stretches .5 miles to the north and provides views of Sargent’s Mountain, the Seven Devils, and Oregon’s Wallowa and Eagle Cap Mountain ranges, along with Idaho’s vast Salmon River Mountains. Riders can also trek .5 miles to the south on the Brundage Lookout Trail for sweeping views of the Payette Lakes and Long Valley. Scenic riders can choose to connect into a larger hiking trail system or simply get back on the chairlift at the top and enjoy a relaxing fresh-air ride back to the Brundage Mountain base area. www.brundage.com
Depending on your timing, you may find yourself surrounded by wildflower blooms as you explore either of these gorgeous mountains. Both resorts offer free summer concert series, as well as lift-served mountain biking and disc golf, so if you plan ahead you can easily turn your simple scenic ride into a whole day of self-guided adventuring.